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July 24th, 2015

National-Literacy-Trust-blogFirst, thanks to Simon for last week’s blog. I really like the idea of ‘Demented Optimism’ – as a writer I don’t think you ever get anywhere unless you believe in yourself and your creations. Such optimism may be demented, but it’s essential!

I read an article recently in the Sunday Times Magazine. It was about a man called Denis Pethebridge – and his 30 years of literary failure! In a leather-bound scrap book he had amassed 338 rejection letters. Starting in 1937 he had sent out articles, stories and novels to just about every newspaper, magazine, agent and publisher in the UK…and had rejections from them all. But did that stop him? No. By 1967 he was planning to start a new volume of rejection letters because the first was overflowing. Apparently he eventually self-published a novel in 1996 at the age of 77 and went on to live until he was 94. In his case optimism, however unfounded, was no detriment to his health. You’ve got to have staying power if you really want to be a writer, and not let rejection get you down. Read the rest of this entry »




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Risible Rhymes?

June 18th, 2015

MGPic-blogI’m never quite sure what to call this stuff we sometimes write.  Comic verse?  Humorous verse?  Both adjectives sound presumptuous.  (You can hear the readers/audience shout, We’ll be the judge of that!)  There’s always the more humble sounding light verse – concocted for a family celebration perhaps, with guests well inebriated and correspondingly appreciative.  But what will they think the morning after?

Maybe it’s the word verse that’s at fault – it has that quaint, old-fashioned ring and also brings to mind the modern, cringeworthy greeting card.  But then humorous poetry has slightly chilling overtones too.  I often imagine it in the deadpan voice of Peter Cook’s wonderful E.L. Wisty character, “Good evenin’, I write humorous poetry, you know.”

There are many permutations of these words that we could choose to label our work.  And they all seem somehow apologetic.  Or a bit of a put-down. Read the rest of this entry »




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Editors Aren’t Always Perfect

January 30th, 2015

writer.com-blogFirst, thanks to Colin for last Friday’s blog. You often hear people who are ‘sniffy’ about genre fiction saying it’s plot driven, whereas literary fiction (usually their preferred reading/writing matter) is character driven. It’s OK for a book or story to be character driven but if those characters don’t provide some forward movement or development (a plot?!) then the reader loses interest pretty fast. Read the rest of this entry »




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For the Love of Poetry

March 14th, 2014

I was delighted to learn that Edge was a winner in the recent Writers Bureau poetry competition as this comes hot on the heels of an Earlyworks Press first prize, and the publication of four of my poems in their recent poetry anthology Sharp as Lemons. Read the rest of this entry »




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The Pros (no Cons!) of Entering Writing Competitions

October 18th, 2013

Writing competitions can be great fun. Especially when you win first prize! But I believe everyone who enters a writing competition is a winner in a small way. Read the rest of this entry »




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